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Archive for February, 2014

8 Tips for Successful Blogging to Drive Inbound Marketing

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According to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report, 34percent of all sales leads last year were generated by inbound marketing sources, delivering 54percent more leads into the sales funnel that outbound marketing efforts through advertising, sales calls, etc. And more than 82percent of marketers who blog see real ROI from blogging for inbound marketing. Of those marketers surveyed, 43percent said they generated a customer from blogging during the year.

Overall, 79 percent of companies who maintain a blog reported positive ROI for inbound marketing compared to 20 percent without a blog. And 82 percent of marketers who blog daily said they acquired a customer as opposed to 57 percent who blog monthly.

Clearly blogging builds business, but successful business blogging has specific guidelines you need to follow:

  1. Know your audience – Before you start blogging, have a clear idea of who you are writing for. Create marketing personas to help you identify your target customer and audience, and identify their areas of interest and their problems. What information can you share in a blog that will make their lives easier?
  2. Deliver quality content – An informative and entertaining blog can be your best tool for inbound lead generation. The secret is to keep your audience engaged. You want the information you share to be different, interesting, and valuable.
  3. Mix up your format – Use different subjects and approaches to keep your blog fresh. Talk about common problems. Interview other experts. Cite interesting statistics. Use different techniques so your readers always get something fresh.
  4. Never sell – Most business bloggers make the mistake of making their blog all about them and their products. People don’t care about their products; they care about how those products improve their lives. Talk about the customers’ problems and challenges and provide information that is helpful. In fact, don’t even mention your products but just provide expertise. The soft sell is more effective in blogging.
  5. Remember, design matters – Appearance matters just as much as readability. Use a crisp, clean design that is easy to read, and break up the text with subheads, bullet lists, and graphics. Artwork is particularly important. Pictures give you blog life and make it more visible on social media – just make sure you don’t violate the copyright for any images you share.
  6. Include a call to action – Every online post should include some call to action, or rather a call to engage further. I can be a call for comments, or the offer of a white paper, case study, or more information. Ultimately, you want blog followers to contact you about becoming customers. Make it easy for them to reach you by email, with a simple form, or other means.
  7. Be prolific and be consistent – It’s proven that the more you blog, the higher your lead conversion rate. Commit to whatever frequency you can manage – daily, weekly, monthly – but remember the more you blog the better your chances for lead conversion. Try to post at the same time each day or week so your followers can look forward to hearing from you.
  8. Make your blog easy to share – Of course, you are pushing your own blog content out through social media. Make it easy for your blog followers to share as well with social media links. Getting your followers to share is the best way to attract more followers.

These are just eight ways to improve your blogging strategy. Whatever you do, don’t be boring and don’t plagiarize. But do start blogging and blog often. And if you need assistance with your blog, then by all means, call on us. We’re here to help.

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Written by Tom Woolf

February 21st, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Facebook social partnering is the cat’s meow for one rescue

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If you are looking to increase your Facebook following, you might want to talk to Ava Gardner. Not THE Ava Gardner who stole Ol’ Blue Eyes heart. This Ava Gardner is a cat whose enormous popularity supports the belief held by many that cats rule the Internet.  Ava Gardner the Cat’s Facebook page has managed to attract a following of 326,000 fans – and she’s not even Grumpy.

Ava’s popularity even confounds owner Susie Newton. Two years ago, she got the idea to put up a Facebook page for her Tuxedo cat that was found stray in 2011 in the San Francisco Bay Area and turned over to a cat welfare group.  Ten months later, Newton and her family adopted Ava.  What followed once Ava’s page went up is the stuff of Facebook legends. Her popularity just took off and today the 12-year old kitty basks in the adoration of her thousands of  fans.

Newton, who claims no social media marketing experience, soon saw the potential in her social media darling to save the lives of other cats in need. A volunteer with several Bay Area cat rescue groups, Newton began including posts about other homeless cats on Ava’s page. The posts, which she consistently updated three to four times a week, boosted Ava’s popularity and helped other rescued cats find homes.

Last July, Newton began volunteering with Maine Coon Adoptions (MCA), a highly regarded San Francisco area rescue group. Among her primary activities, Newton took over managing MCA’s Facebook page, which had already attracted about 4500 loyal fans. Newton began re-posting MCA Facebook posts on Ava’s page.  By the end of the year, the social partnership proved to be hugely successful. MCA’s following tripled to 15,000, and continues to climb, and Ava’s fame spread even further

Newton actively posts for the MCA page about four to five times a day and tracks what posts are the most popular. She varies the posts between adoptable cats featured on MCA’s website, upcoming events, and special fundraisers. But the posts that get the most likes and shares are the ones about adopted cats living the good life in their new homes. As Netwton puts it, ‘Everyone loves to see the cats living happily ever.”

Ava Gardner the Cat and Maine Coon Adoptions highlight the value of establishing a social partnership to help grow your follower base.  Ask an affiliate or partner to mention your company or organization in their blog, share your posts on their Facebook page or give you a re-tweet, and return the favor.

Ava was a rescued cat who now is sharing her limelight to help other cats in need. You can’t get much more social than that.

 

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Written by Barbara Kohn

February 17th, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Repurpose your content to get more mileage

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Are you coming up short on ideas for your content strategy? Having a calendar of content about your company’s activities and products and services  – press releases, white papers, case studies, articles, videos – helps to fill the pipeline. Still to maintain an active presence on social media channels requires having content daily or at least several times a week to keep followers engaged. Let’s face it; it’s not easy to be brilliant, witty, insightful and interesting all the time – for most of us anyway.

So just how do you keep content following to all your necessary content channels without causing yourself undo stress? You could hire a muse (run an ad on LinkedIn), get some cats (seemed to work for Hemingway) or you could repurpose existing content and you should. You can get a lot of mileage by taking your best content and turning it into something new and different and fresh to use on your various social channels.

The benefits of repurposing, in addition to getting more out of your content investment, are:

Reach a broader audience. People absorb information differently. Some are more visual and like images and charts and graphs; others are auditory learners and respond better to videos or podcasts. And then of course there are those of who like the written word. By repurposing your content, you can appeal to a wide range of followers. You can take a white paper and turn it into an Infographic or turn a video into a blog post. The same message in different formats attracts a wider audience.

Improve your SEO: You have more content assets to attract more traffic from those who are searching for the information you provide. You help to boost SEO by cross-linking your content. For example, you can create a blog post and encourage your visitors to check out a podcast that provides more information on the topic or includes an interview with an industry authority.

Explore new angles: As you repurpose your content, you may find a new angle. A blog post on how to implement a flexible work policy could spawn a white paper on creating office policies for remote workers.

Repurposing best practices

· Research: Understand your audience and what is important to them. Choose a topic that has several angles that you can repurpose into different content assets.

· Evergreen: As you are developing your content, aim for topics that are evergreen – will never become dated – to drive traffic to your site for a long time.

· Get creative: Determine the platforms you plan to use – blog, social media posts, YouTube or email campaigns – and then repurpose the content to get the maximum results from each.

· Add value: As you repurpose your content for different platforms, aim to add value each time.

Good luck repurposing. And if you still have problems coming up with fresh content, see if getting a cat inspires you.

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Written by Barbara Kohn

February 2nd, 2014 at 10:33 pm